Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

TOP STORY >>Officials resign in Jacksonville

Leader staff writer

After seven years on the job, Jacksonville City Engineer Jay Whisker announced his resignation at the city’s planning commission meeting Monday night. Whisker is the second city official to resign. Human Resource Director Charlie Brown submitted his resignation about a month ago, and this is his last week on the job. Brown is taking an early retirement from his city job, but plans to stay in the human resource business.

At the commission meeting, Whisker said, “I love Jacksonville and I plan on staying here,” adding the opportunity was something he couldn’t pass up. Whisker will take a job, starting Dec. 1, with an engineering firm in Little Rock. “I wasn’t really looking. They came to me,” he said, “And I was ready for something different.”

He explained that once you are hired as a city engineer that what you are until retirement. “In this new position, I have a chance for advancement,” Whisker said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Jacksonville and love being city engineer, but its just time, but I’m remaining in Jacksonville and will be an active positive spokesman for the city,” he said. One of the planning commission asked if Whisker would consider taking a position on the commission. “If the mayor asks, I would consider it,” he said.

Commission Chairman Mark Stroud told Whisker that he would be missed “You have done yeoman’s work, and we are going to miss you keeping us straight.” Whisker told the commissioners that “I’ve learned much more from you all, than you have learned from me. Thanks for the opportunity to serve the city,” he said. Tommy Bond, with Bond Consulting Engineers, who frequently has projects in front of the commission, kiddingly said, “It’ll be tough training a new city engineer.” The city has already advertised for a replacement for the human resource director, and will start advertising for a new city engineer next week.

In other commission business: Commissioners approved the rezoning of two lots near the northwest corner of Military Road and South First Street from single-family homes to commercial. The owners of the land, Jim Peacock and Ted Camp, are planning to build a strip center with a service station on the acreage.

The commission approved a conditional use permit which would allow apartments to be built on the southwest corner of North First and Brewer streets. Plans call for four four-unit apartments to be built. Owner and developer Ben Rice said the apartments would look very similar to the Frenchman’s Wood apartments in Maumelle.

Commissioners approved an ordinance shortening front yard setbacks from 35 feet to 25 feet. The ordinance will go before the city council Thursday. Commissioners approved the sketch plat for the 98-lot development of Clover Ridge Subdivision, Phase IV, adjacent Homer Adkins Pre-K Center. The commission also approved the final plat of the 20-lot Jaxon Terrace Subdivision near Mesquite and North First streets.